Getting a good nights sleep is always on the top of the wishlist for those who are tired or aging. Adequate peaceful sleep also happens to be the biggest factor when it comes to maintaining a sound brain and better health. The best type of quality sleep is restorative sleep.
To get peak performance optimal brain function on a daily basis, what our mind needs is a specific number of hours of deep quality sleep which restores the body, this to perform maintenance along with optimizing our neural connectivity networks.
In addition to the hours of dedicated sleep that we need nightly, there’s also a precise method of sleep that we need to adopt, a pattern of shuteye that’s required and necessary for properly conducting this repair.
Imagine that your brain is an off ramp veering off a busy freeway during rush hour, which queues into several streets. Think of this off ramp being under construction every night for road repair.
All of the flowing traffic needs to stop to allow this repair work and maintenance to be performed. When it comes to your brain, what restorative sleep does is it allows for this maintenance and repair to occur.
Getting Deep Reconstructive Sleep
What restorative sleep comprises of is the completion of the various known stages of sleeping, which also involves the chemical changes which occurs during a 24-hour period, which allows the body and the brain to heal itself.
During this period, the entire body repairs and grows. Once we fall asleep, what we all follow is a natural sequence of sleeping that’s known as the circadian rhythm, which is the sleep and wake cycles within the 24 hour day.
Getting Tired Now
As the day wears on, we all get tired and want to rest, to relax, we want to take a nap or go directly to sleep. This occurs because melatonin, which is the naturally occurring hormone in the brain which regulates our sleep and wake cycles, become activated.
Melatonin does so by lowering our body temperature while inducing drowsiness. It does so by affecting the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which ls located in the hypothalamus of the upper brain stem.
The Stages Of Sleep
Once we go through the different stages of sleep, what occurs is the dreaming process, which is known as the integration period, then it shifts into the repair phase, when our limbs appear to become paralyzed.
If you ever happen to see a dog sleep, you can witness their restorative sleeping period. Whenever the dog is in the repair mode, Fido appears completely frozen in space, and if you ever attempt to pick him up, it feels like dead weight.
When the dog is sleeping during the integration period, which is the rapid eye movement phase or REM, this is when the dreaming occurs. This dreaming period is considered to be extremely important, as doing so provides the integration of the repair process.
It’s known that some of the most famous inventions and theories are the result of dreaming, if remembered and activated into real life.
How To Get Better Restorative Sleep
The reasons for not getting reconstructive sleep is because of poor sleep hygiene, eating junk food or foods which are loaded with sugar right before bed, and stress. These are all known to cause the dysregulation of the brain, which prevents the restorative sleep.
If there also happens to be a previous injury to the brain, such as a stroke, concussion, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s Disease, these events can cause a dysregulation in the sleep cycle as well.
Known Sleep Disturbances
The most common type of sleep disturbance is insomnia, which most are no doubt familiar with, which is the inability to fall asleep or remain sleeping.
It’s the most problematic of sleeping patterns worldwide, and has picked up momentum because of the acceleration of the fast paced lifestyle that we live in. Insomnia can also occur directly after sustaining a brain injury, and if not treated properly, it can continue for a length of time.
Hypersomnia, which is another sleep disturbance pattern is the need for excessive amounts of sleep, or the inability to become fully awake. This is also a common symptom after sustaining a concussion or a stroke, as it’s known that some would sleep for an entire 24 hour period without waking.
Circadian Cycle Disturbance
Circadian rhythm or sleep wake/cycle disturbance refers to the interference with the brains inner clock, which regulates the proper periods of sleep and wakefulness.
This condition can also predate a concussion, but is usually worsened by the injury, or it could be caused by the trauma itself. What’s known as parasomnias, is a type of brain motor issue and trauma which includes nightmares, night terrors, twitching leg syndrome, and periodic leg kicking.
Best Ways To Deal With Sleep Disturbances
• Stabilize sleep and wake times. It’s extremely important to go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning
• Reduce the consumption of alcohol or excessive caffeine before going to sleep, eliminate tobacco and all tobacco products
• Consume a diet which is high in protein while eliminating all forms of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and all types of processed foods, especially right before bed
• Try photo therapy, which is the management to the exposure of excess light, which includes environmental controls such as turning off all lights to dark, while minimizing background noise
• Perform regular and routine exercise, provided that it’s at least 4 hours before going to sleep
• Limit the time laying in bed by stop watching TV or reading in bed, and find other rooms for these events
Any disturbances in the restorative sleep cycle can cause issues with memory, alertness, and thinking, which accelerates mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue.